Are salaries a better idea than commissions? What's the best way to modify your compensation plan?


NAR Library & Archives has already done the research for you. References (formerly Field Guides) offer links to articles, eBooks, websites, statistics, and more to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives. EBSCO articles (E) are available only to NAR members and require a password.

Compensation Structures for REALTORS®

Compensation Structures for REALTORS® (2019 National Association of REALTOR® Member Profile)

Compensation Plan Basics

The Real Estate Commission: A Guide to Who Pays, How Much, and More (realtor.com, Apr. 15, 2019)

Real Estate Agent Fees: Who Pays the Bill? (realtor.com, Feb. 19, 2019)

Who Pays the Commission to the Real Estate Agent? (The Balance, Jan. 15, 2019)

Methods of Compensating Real Estate Agents (The Balance, Jan. 4, 2019)

2018 National Real Estate Compensation Survey (Units, Jan. 2019) E

IRS Requires Reporting of Cooperative Commissions (National Association of REALTORS®, Jan. 2016)

Compensation Tips for Management Personnel (REALTOR® Magazine)

Salaries or Commissions?

Here’s How Much Real Estate Agents Earn in Every State (Forbes, Jan. 28, 2019)

Methods of Compensating Real Estate Agents - Commissions and Splits (The Balance, Jan. 10, 2019)

First-Timer FAQ: How to Real Estate Commissions Work? (Forbes, Jun. 6, 2018)

Commission Splits in Real Estate Transactions (Journal of Real Estate Finance & Economics, Feb. 2017) E

Common Commission Options (REALTOR® Magazine)

Compensation and Short Sales

HAFA Commissions Policies (Government Affairs, National Association of REALTORS®)

Freddie Mac Short Sales Commission Policy (Government Affairs, National Association of REALTORS®)

Fannie Mae Short Sales Commissions Policy and Appeals Process (Government Affairs, National Association of REALTORS®)

eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

Ready-Made Employment Contracts, Letters & Forms (Kindle, eBook)

What Your CEO Needs to Know About Sales Compensation (Kindle, eBook)

Beyond 401(k)s for Small Business Owners: A Practical Guide to Incentive, Deferred Compensation, and Retirement Plans (Kindle, eBook)

Compensating the Sales Force (eBook)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Member Support. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Member Support at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Center for REALTOR® Financial Wellness (National Association of REALTORS®)

31 Reasons Your Real Estate Agent is Worth Their Commission (Brand Face Real Estate, 2018)

111 Ways to Justify Your Commission: Value Adding Strategies for Real Estate Agents and Brokers (New York, NY: Kaplan, 2007) HD1382 .L44

REALTrends Broker Compensation Report (Castle Rock, CO: Real Trends, Inc., 2011) HD 1375 R22b

The Real Estate Entrepreneur: Everything You Need to Know to Grow Your Own Brokerage (New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2007) HD 1375 P41

Have an idea for a real estate topic? Send us your suggestions.

The inclusion of links on this page does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this page complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.


Housing Opportunity Program

Programs, grants, trainings, and resources that help REALTORS® and REALTOR® associations expand housing availability and homeownership opportunities.


The latest from NAR about about COVID-19 (coronavirus), its impact on the real estate industry and events, and federal programs affecting REALTORS®.